chapter  15
18 Pages

Deterrence, Rational Choice, and Criminal Offending: A Consideration of Legal Subjectivity: Michael Massoglia and Ross Macmillan

In this chapter, we argue that ambiguity in the role of deterrence in criminal offending may stem from a failure to fully consider the social structure of criminal justice activity and the degree to which this influences the internalization of formal controls by individuals. In elaborating this problem, we integrate classic work on deterrence with recent work in the sociology of law to articulate a theory of "legal subjectivity." Legal subjectivity refers to the degree to which people see themselves as differentially subject to criminal justice control. The notion of legal subjectivity has important implications for deterrence and the rational choice model by highlighting the social structure around perceptions of criminal justice sanctions and by providing a starting point for identifying for whom criminal justice sanctions are a salient aspect of everyday cognition.